Tottenham laboured to a 1-0 defeat against Royal Antwerp last night in something of an embarrassing night for Jose Mourinho and the club in general.
Given the difference in budgets and talent on show, Spurs should have waltzed to a comfortable victory, despite making a number of changes to the starting XI.
Of course, some of those XI didn’t make it past the first 45 minutes, as Mourinho made four subs at the break in a bid to shake things up before introducing Harry Kane with 30 minutes to play as well.
Another player in and among those who performed poorly was right-back, Serge Aurier. The 27-year-old putting in a dreadful performance in the main, with various sites, including 90Min, giving him a lacklustre 5/10 for his efforts.
And while it’s easy to jump on a player’s back following on performance, it’s also easy to see why Mourinho made the decision to bring in Matt Doherty in the summer.
Just a few weeks ago it looked like Aurier might have turned a corner. A fine display at Manchester United and a new contract looking likely, it seemed like the Ivorian might finally be producing the goods on a consistent basis.
But last night was a throwback to the player who has, at times, drawn the wrath of Tottenham fans on social media and beyond.
He was all over the place positionally. He crossing and final pass, seemingly non-existent when it mattered. Aurier, as expected, cut a frustrated figure and had a look of a man who knows he’s not going to be first-choice for a while yet.
In Matt Doherty, Mourinho has an unspectacular but reliable player. That is what the Spurs boss wants. He wants players he can count on to their jobs and carry out his tactical plans.
Sadly for Aurier, old habits crept back in last night and it looks like, as Mourinho hinted after the game, that it’s going to be back to warming the bench for the 27-year-old for now.